The Summer of Good Intentions, by Wendy Francis #quickreview #netgalley

About the book, The Summer of Good Intentions The Summer of Good Intentions


  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 7, 2015)
  • Publication Date: July 7, 2015


Cape Cod summers are supposed to remain reassuringly the same, but everything falls apart when three sisters and their families come together for their annual summer vacation—and they are carrying more secrets than suitcases.

Maggie is the oldest. She feels responsible for managing the summer house and making sure everything is as it always has been. But she’s hurt that her parents’ recent divorce has destroyed the family’s comfortable summer routines, and her own kids seem to be growing up at high speed. Is it too late to have another baby?

Jess is the middle sister. She loves her job but isn’t as passionate about her marriage. She’s not sure she can find the courage to tell Maggie what she’s done—much less talk to her husband about it.

Virgie is the youngest, her dad’s favorite. She’s always been the career girl, but now there’s a man in her life. Her television job on the west coast is beyond stressful, and it’s taking its toll on her—emotionally and physically. She’s counting on this vacation to erase the symptoms she’s not talking about.

The Herington girls are together again, with their husbands and kids, for another summer in the family’s old Cape Cod house. When their mother, Gloria, announces she’s coming for an unscheduled visit—with her new boyfriend—no one is more surprised than their father, Arthur, who has not quite gotten over his divorce. Still, everyone manages to navigate the challenges of living grown-up lives in close quarters, until an accident reveals a new secret that brings everyone together in heartbreak…and then healing.

Poignant, compelling, and so real that you could shake the sand out of the pages, The Summer of Good Intentions is by a rising star who aims her fiction square at the heart of readers who love Elin Hilderbrand, Dorothea Benton Frank, and Mary Kay Andrews.

Buy, read, and discuss this book.

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My Thoughts

I’m an only child, so novels that involve multiple generations of families converging on a single location for an extended period of time always fascinate me, and that’s one of the reasons I requested this novel from NetGalley. The other is that I love ‘beach’ books, and I love all the authors referenced in the description.

This novel was both gripping and poignant – it opens with Maggie opening the house for the summer, and finding out that her recently-divorced father is slipping a bit – not taking care of himself – perhaps becoming unable to care for himself. The other two sisters are a bit less defined but this book is the classic example of three sisters forming a sort of mirror of the larger family, reflective, but also distinct, as each has her own angle, her own perspective.

I really liked that each sister had her own arc, and that their kids were allowed to be fully-fledged characters. I thought author Wendy Francis did a great job at creating dimensional characters who felt like people I might know.

Goes well with egg salad sandwiches and fresh lemonade.